One thing is clear in our years of filling positions—every employer is looking for someone “above average”, often someone “exceptional”.
To help land exceptional candidates companies need to add the sales component of interviewing to their recruitment process.
Why is this? Keep these points in mind:
The exceptional candidate is harder to land than an average candidate.
There will be more opportunity available, and more offers from competing companies for top candidates.
You must assume that the exceptional candidate is highly regarded by his current company, is on some version of a fast track program and has earned the esteem of his peers that will be hard to just walk away from. Additionally, the exceptional candidate is loyal by definition.
Assume this exceptional candidate will get a matching offer to stay when she puts her notice in.
So how do you increase your chances of landing these candidates?
During the interview process:
Be prepared! Have a prepared sales program answering the question: “Why should the candidate leave his current position and go to work for you?”
Printed materials such as a brochure covering reasons for joining your firm are very helpful, especially for entry through mid-level positions. Printed materials have an added benefit. When the candidates goes home from their interviews and talk to their spouses and mentors, etc. they have something visceral they can show them. This often helps the spouse better understand the company and therefore much more comfortable with the potential move.
Points to keep in mind with prepared employment literature: Greetings and comments from the President, Corporate Mission Statement, Corporate Vision, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Philosophy, History of company, Corporate achievements and successes, Growth plans and future, Senior management bio and comments, Pictures of several employees and their success story at your company
Keep this visual in mind: A Collection manager has two similar offers from 2 similar companies. One company provides the above materials the other does not. The candidate is sitting at the kitchen table at night weighting both offers with spouse. Which company will spouse likely feel more comfortable with ?
Sell challenge of position! Exceptional candidates rise to challenges and are highly motivated by new challenges. This is a great reason for a candidate to change positions!
A President of a subprime automotive finance company I worked with always had candidates leaving his office wanting a position with him. In my candidate interview debrief I found that he told candidates “the story”. He told them how he started the company, the struggles they had in the early days and how they overcame them. The near bankruptcy they once faced and the lessons he learned from it . He talked about the strengths of the company and the great challenges that lie ahead. “The road won’t be easy”, he would tell candidates. “But with smart hard working people like you joining us we will rise to any challenge” …..
Exceptional candidates want the opportunity to meet a challenge!
Sell Opportunity provided by going to work for your company such as:
- The outstanding management that she will be working with.
- His future with your company.
- Visibility – Is the position highly visible to the community ? This is important to the movers and shakers!
- Introduce a middle management candidate to upper management. Allow the person to gain comfort with “the team”.
Assume your competition will be doing this !
TIP: When presenting a compensation plan that is heavily incentivized with commission / bonuses – make sure you provide information on what this plan would have yielded last year and project what it should realistically yield first full year.
I hope this helps your personnel search endeavors.